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Author Topic: Benchmark HDR  (Read 3263 times)

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Offline raymonda

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Benchmark HDR
« on: June 10, 2015, 10:09:27 PM »
So I sold my Matrix Mini i v2 and bought a Benchmark HDR. I really wanted more SPDIF connections as well as the possibility to raise the bar on performance. I've read and heard continuous good things about the Benchmark for a long time.........and the price was too nice to turn down. Essentially, selling both the Mini i and my M-stage put me in close shouting distance of the Benchmark making it a no brainer. Also, it has an analog in, which added to the attraction.

One area where this DA stomps all over the Matrix is its headphone section, which is very detailed, dynamic and extended. It might be all the headphone amp one needs. Listening to it through my HiFiman 400's and Audible Illusions 3A is special and gives an exciting sonic picture. I still believe my Melos SHA1 offers a more organic sound but I am really liking what this headphone amp offers. With vinyl it really shines by providing a quick execution of transients.

As a DA it has worked well in both SPDIF and USB mode. It plays the resolution card a bit better than the Matrix. I haven't really put enough time into it to report on what else it does other than saying I'm not missing the Matrix, which is saying a lot because the Matrix offers plenty for very little. On a whole it is safe to say that this is a better DA......how much better only more time will tell.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 10:11:18 PM by raymonda »

Offline chk

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 12:01:33 PM »
You buy a new one or used? I am on the lookout for a used DAC1 HDR. Made a couple bids on ebay but am biding my time and in no rush. Primarily will use as a preamp but nice to have the headphone out too. Seems like i should be able to snag one on ebay for around $700. Great value me thinks!  Glad you like yours.

Offline OOK

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 02:52:02 PM »
One area where this DA stomps all over the Matrix is its headphone section, which is very detailed, dynamic and extended. It might be all the headphone amp one needs. Listening to it through my HiFiman 400's and Audible Illusions 3A is special and gives an exciting sonic picture. I still believe my Melos SHA1 offers a more organic sound but I am really liking what this headphone amp offers. With vinyl it really shines by providing a quick execution of transients.

Good to know...... there are just so many good options out there now.   
DPA/HEB 4060's > R09HR
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Offline raymonda

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 10:36:22 PM »
You buy a new one or used? I am on the lookout for a used DAC1 HDR. Made a couple bids on ebay but am biding my time and in no rush. Primarily will use as a preamp but nice to have the headphone out too. Seems like i should be able to snag one on ebay for around $700. Great value me thinks!  Glad you like yours.

700 might be tough. It seems like the lowest price is aound 800 or so. Maybe in another year or so the price will drop to 700.

Offline JimmieC

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 10:54:52 AM »
You buy a new one or used? I am on the lookout for a used DAC1 HDR. Made a couple bids on ebay but am biding my time and in no rush. Primarily will use as a preamp but nice to have the headphone out too. Seems like i should be able to snag one on ebay for around $700. Great value me thinks!  Glad you like yours.

700 might be tough. It seems like the lowest price is around 800 or so. Maybe in another year or so the price will drop to 700.

Hopefully even lower with the DAC2 out.  The DAC1 HDR looks nice.
OH Grown
Mic:AKG C460B(CK61)/HM1000(CK32/CK47), Naiant Couplings/PFA, ADK-TL; Preamp:Lunatec V2, Naiant Littlebox v1.5; Rec:Tascam DA-P1/DR-100mkii/DR-680; Cable:GAKcables; Bar:Shure A27M, Robb Bar 23-cm, it-goes-to-eleven DINa Active Bar, GAK 3' Bar; Mount:Shure A53M, Audix MC-MICRO; Clamp:AKG K&M 237, Photek Grip Clamp w/Manfrotto 042; Stand: Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser 12' AC Stand/122B, Lowel Full Pole; Battery:18000mah Universal Lithium Battery; Playback:laptop>Schiit Modi>Yamaha HTR5890>Klipsch Synergy F2. My recordings on LMA

Offline chk

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2015, 01:10:50 PM »
i've bid on two recently.  one went for $800, the other for $735....including shipping...from what i've read, and from seeing who uses them, these are in many studios and considered to be benchmarks in terms of 2-channel preamps are concerned.  cheers

Offline ts

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 02:53:08 PM »
I'd really like an HDR myself. For the analog input and the remote. I wonder what my DAC1 is worth? Mint with box and manual. Silver face. No rack mount.
Beyerdynamic CK930>Sound Devices MixPre 6

Offline raymonda

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 04:05:34 AM »
 I've gotten more mileage into the unit now and can give a better account of its signature. This unit is very detailed with excellent resolution and extension. It turns on a dime but reveals reverb trails nicely. It doesn't seem to add color to the instruments and subtle changes made to your mix are easily discerned. Overall it will provide a clean, razors edge, view of your recording that will draw you into the music while laying bare all aspects of the recording. It does not romantize your recording but rather gives you a very clear picture of what's there, warts and all. For me, that's a good thing.  I like to add my own sugar to my coffee. For that duty I would rather leave the sweetening to my preamps or amps.

Bass is well extended and punchy. It is not bloated nor does it leave notes hanging, thus blurring them together. Each bass note can be discerned from the other when there is a run or walking, or if the kick is layering, and or doubling.

Vocals are revealed for what is on the track, making it easier to identify the mic used or type of environment the track was recorded in.

High frequencies are one of its many strong points. Rides, Hi-Hats and Crashes are all revealed for what they are. Overtones and primary notes from instruments are there in their full glory. 

This is an honest tool that will play back what is on your tracks. It comes in a sturdy, well constructed package, has gobs of inputs and output and does its job in first class, workman like fashion. However, for someone looking for a DAC that is more like a crayon this is not for you. It will not make your recordings more romantic or fix problems elsewhere in your system. For that you will have to shop elsewhere. But for someone who is looking for what it brings to the table, this might be the unit for you and now that Benchmark has released the DAC2 these are going for a great price on the used market. You can even buy a refurbished unit from Benchmark at a greatly reduced price with a warranty.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 09:29:02 AM by raymonda »

Offline chk

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2015, 09:13:36 AM »
i've been using my benchmark HDR now for a few weeks, love it.  very similar sound as my Morrison ELAD preamp, which is to say, it has no sound of it's own.  transparent.  Essentially the Morrison but with a remote and DAC taboot...  the last preamp/dac i will ever need to purchase.

Offline raymonda

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2015, 11:25:53 AM »
I have nothing but good things to say about mine so far. Great deal and best buy on the used market.

Offline Colin Liston

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2015, 07:54:54 AM »
Occasionally....music mics record

Offline chk

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Re: Benchmark HDR
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2015, 12:59:11 PM »
I got mine used (mint) for $700.  They seem to pop up occasionally at that price. There's a new version out that supports DSD and has some other bells and whistles, none that I was interested in...so you can scoop up the HDR vesion for what amounts to a great price considering its a studio quality DAC (considered a benchmark in the industry) and a preamp with remote and a bunch of inputs.

 

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